After studying photography and literature at the American College in Paris, Karen Bystedt returned to the United States and earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Film, at New York University, in 1982. It was while she was a student in New York, that she photographed Warhol in a rare sitting at Interview Magazine’s ‘The Factory’.
Karen Bystedt attributes influence in her work to Andy Warhol, who allowed himself to be photographed by a then young NYU student.
Karen Bystedt & The Lost Warhols
In 1982, Bystedt was a student at New York University working on a photography book of male models. Karen Bystedt felt inspired by the modeling Warhol had done the year prior for Barney’s in GQ Magazine, she really wanted to include him in her project although Warhol rarely participated in shoots where he was a model rather than the artist, Karen called Warhol’s studio to request a shoot with him and to her surprise Warhol answered the phone himself he then agreed to let Bystedt photograph him at his iconic studio, The Factory.
For the sitting, Warhol dressed in a tweed Perry Ellis sports coat, wore a neatly combed white toupee rather than his signature “fright wig,” and held a miniature American flag.
Bystedt took 36 frames of Warhol and published two of them in her book of male models “Not Just Another Pretty Face”. The negatives were then placed in storage and subsequently lost until 2011 when Bystedt rediscovered ten of them. Since then, Bystedt has exhibited “The Lost Warhols” in group and solo exhibitions internationally, including Los Angeles, New York and Portugal.
Karen Bystedt’s work has been exhibited at Art Basel Miami in which she collaborated with Peter Tunney and four of Ms Bystedt’s portraits of Mr Warhol are part of the Andy Warhol Museum permanent collection.
The Hearst Foundation has acquired one of Ms Bystedt Flag Warhol photographs for its esteemed collection which hangs in at the Hearst Tower in NYC.
Bystedt produced this her first mural collaboration with Kryptik and Nick Flatt portraying her iconic image of Andy holding the American Flag as part of an ongoing project with Branded Arts called “Bringing Andy To the Streets”.